I’m Not Called to Write

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, Prayer, tips 13 Comments

by Laura McClellan

Are you called to write?

That question has come up many times during the past fifteen months as I’ve worked on my first novel. At writing conferences, in blog posts, in emails on the ACFW loops-I’ve lost count of the number of times people have referred to being “called” to write, with not much discussion about what that means.
I’ve struggled with the concept, partly because I dislike undefined religious jargon. I’ve pondered-what does it mean to be “called” to write? Am I “called” to write? And if I’m not, does that mean I shouldn’t do it? Isn’t it okay to write just because you enjoy it? Does being “called” to write somehow elevate your writing in some way?
I thought about this for months. When I searched the Bible for verses about being called, I didn’t find anything that persuaded me that I’m “called” to write.
* I am (we are) “a chosen people … a people belonging to God, that [I] may declare the praises of him who called [me] out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9).
* I was called “to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thess. 2:13–14)
* I was called to hope (oh, thank God). (Eph. 1:18, 4:4)
* I have been called (chosen and appointed) “to go and bear … fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
* I’ve been called to fulfill the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19–20)
* I have been “called according to his purpose … predestined to be confirmed to the likeness of his Son… .” (Rom. 8:28)
I have come to believe that I am called to one thing, and one thing only: to follow God.
I am not called to write. Writing is merely an expression of my calling. It is, I believe, a gift God has given me, and we are told to use our gifts to serve others. (1 Pet. 4:10)
Maybe I’m misunderstanding the concept, but I think a calling is something indispensable, undeniable, necessary, irrefutable. Something required of us.

And I don’t find anything in God’s word that convinces me that we are required to write. Instead, I find this:

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

I can do those things without ever writing another word. Conversely, I can write and publish volumes of words and never fulfill that calling.
May it never be so.

Laura McClellanLaura McClellan (www.laura-mcclellan.com) has been married over 30 years to the same man (she says she was a child bride). She’s mom to five, grandmother to five, and a partner in a large Dallas law firm. During her “spare time” Laura is polishing her first novel, a winner in several fiction contests.

Comments 13

  1. “I have come to believe that I am called to one thing, and one thing only: to follow God. I am not called to write. Writing is merely an expression of my calling. It is, I believe, a gift God has given me, and we are told to use our gifts to serve others. (1 Pet. 4:10)” You are so right! And your expression of your gift today is an encouragement to me!

  2. Ooo, good points here, Laura. I do feel like God has given each of us specific gifts and called us to use them in fulfilling the Great Commission, like you said. But writing isn’t the only way to do that.

    You’ve given me a lot to ponder. Thank you!

  3. Excellent words, Laura! Yes, I have said I am called to write, but after reading your blog perhaps those aren’t the best words to use. I will be praying about this a bit more. Thanks for sharing your heart, Laura.

  4. I’m sharing this post with my husband! He’s always felt uncomfortable with the idea of being “called” to do this, and “called” to do that. We were at a homeschool conference a few weeks ago and people were talking about their “calling” to homeschool. I asked him if he felt “called,” and he said: “NO.” I was taken by surprise, because we’ve talked at length about homeschooling our oldest daughter. I said: “If you don’t feel called, then why are we going to do it?” He said: “Because I KNOW it’s what we’re supposed to do. I don’t think I’ve ever been called to do anything.” I can’t wait to show him what we have been “called” to do…which is exactly what he knew all along. We are called to follow God, and if that means He wants us to homeschool, than that’s what we’ll do.

  5. Thank you so much for saying this! This article says exactly what I’ve always felt. I’ve always loved to write, but I’ve never felt “called” to write. I don’t like the word “called.” It makes me feel obligated–not only to write, but to write a certain way. I actually don’t write Christian fiction, but I am a Christian writer with standards. Every time I hear or read about how as Christian writers we are “called” to write, I feel obligated to change my writing style. Reading your article was a great relief.There are plenty of other ways I can serve God. I’m printing it out so I can read it whenever I want!

  6. I have found a kindred spirit. I am a former missionary, and no one throws the word “called” around more than missionaries or people who are trying to explain why they are not missionaries. I’ve grown to loathe the word because it keeps people from going to the ends of the earth with the gospel. They are waiting for a mystical, spiritual experience to tell them to do what the Great Commission already commands. You don’t have to feel an exotic emotion before you get on a plane, fly across an ocean and obey Christ. That does not mean, however, that I think everyone has to become a cross-cultural witness. Some Christians are not suited or gifted for overseas service, just as some are not gifted writers. We are a diverse bunch in this body of Christ, and each of us needs to use our unique gifts for his glory. I now live in the States, but my “calling” has not vanished if I use that word the way the Bible does. I am still called to live out Jesus’ commands here, in everything I do, just as I once did in Africa. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  7. Laura,
    I absolutely love this and agree 100%. God gave me some gifts and I’m called to use them to glorify Him, but I’m not called to write. Writing is not required for me to live and breath. If God doesn’t want me to write, so be it. I only want to be in His most perfect will and I pray for His blessings and assurance that I am where He wants me. Holly

  8. Thank you for your thoughtful post. I consider writing a tool to share my faith and witness. Let’s face it, in America, if you knock on doors to share the name of Jesus, you’ll have the door slammed in your face. Writing is a mechanism I use to share my faith in a subtle way. I have felt “called” to write these simple stories. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be getting up at 5:00 am to write when I’d rather be sleeping. Jesus used parables to explain God’s love and grace. Perhaps “called” is the wrong term, but I can’t determine a better word that describes why I feel compelled to write. I write to share my faith in a manner that’s not confrontational. Hopefully the readers will open the book with an open mind and let God’s love and grace enter their hearts.

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